tv World War II and the Holocaust CSPAN February 6, 2016 5:10pm-6:01pm EST
on history bookshelf, here from the best writers from the past decade. and you can watch any of our programs at any time when you visit our website, www.c-span.org/history. you are watching american history tv on c-span3. , 2 holocaust survivors from poland and latvia talk about being singled out, being sent to concentration camps, and eventually liberated. the two survivors are joined by colonel shames, who witnessed several concentration camps in germany. in this hour-long program is cohosted by the u.s. navy
memorial and the american veterans center. host: we have another great program coming up. prominent attorney from baltimore, maryland. a graduate of the naval academy. vice president of his class for five years, very active in all kinds of charitable activities throughout the area and nationally. i am proud to say that he is part of the advisory board. he has done a great deal to help the american veterans center. mostrobably his distinguished achievement was being my roommate in 1970. he and i were roommates on the uss henderson, still the best of friends 45 years later. that tells you young officers about what kind of camaraderie
develops in the military. i could tell a lot of stories, but we are not on cable tv. we had a lot of fun going from liberty port to liberty port. i remember one time in the philippines, we tried to return to the base around 3:00 in the morning. in desperation, we leaped into the middle of the road and it did an awesome version of the in the name of love." we have been asked to perform that many times of the year's for thousands of weddings. and other occasions. we had a great time in the navy. as i said, it does build camaraderie. this is one of the side benefits. ado, barry.ther d
[applause] discussion,s recognizing the 70th anniversary of the end of what to is an important -- world war ii, is an important aspect for us here at the veterans center. we are honoring our heroes of the past while educating our future heroes of tomorrow. we welcome everybody here today, especially young students and young servicepeople in uniform. it is my honor to introduce the panel. first, we have colonel edward shames. he was born in 1922. in 1942d the u.s. army and volunteered as a paratrooper. he served in the 506th. he built the sand tables which were used to train for the air drop into normandy.
he made his jump into normandy on d-day as part of "operation overload." a week later he was the first , noncommissioned officer in his battalion to receive the battlefield commission in normandy. he was transferred to command, third platoon of easy company, later known as the famed "band of brothers" which he led until the end of the war, including the battle of the bulge. at the battle of the bulge, he went along with another soldier and took out a german tank with a bazooka. in hbo's "band of brothers" he was played by joseph may. as the war was indian, -- ending, he witnessed the evils of the concentration camps, where the germans imprisoned the jewish people. he is a hero and a liberator. emmanuel "manny" mandel sits in the middle.
he was born in may of 1936 on truman's birthday in latvia. , he wasafter his birth actually born on my father's birthday, we have a connection there. shortly after his birth, his father took a position as one of four chief cantors in budapest. it was one of the most important jewish communities in europe. as a 7-year-old in hungary,
manny was among a group of approximately 670 jews which adolf eichmann offered to trade for allied material. when negotiations broke down, they were diverted to a concentration camp in germany, where anne frank died. his grandmother, who lived with the family in budapest, was killed at auschwitz. there were over 100,000 jewish citizens in hungary, and by the end of the war, over 400,000 have been killed. in the middle is henry greenbaum. prior to 1939, the jewish people had lived in poland for 1000 years freely. in 1939, when the germans invaded, he was 11. his father died, and his mother
and siblings were moved into the crowded ghetto. his mother and two sisters were deported. all were killed at the nazi death camp. henry and his sister fay were attempting to escape. however, when they were a few feet away from the hole in the nazis opened fire and he was shot in the back of the head. when he dropped his sister's hand, he realized she was dead. he survived. most of his family was killed by the nazis. he survived being shot and a death march .you will hear from .
-- you will hear from him what it was like in the early years of his life and what it was like to be liberated by the american army on april 25, 1945. i am very honored to have such a distinguished panel here today to discuss these issues that we deal with everyday in our life as leaders in working with other human beings. i will start with colonel shames. he is going to talk a little bit about how they rescued a large group of british troops. this is the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. colonel, if you would like to come up? i would like to ask you if you could please tell us why you volunteered as a paratrooper and what it was like to have parachuted into normandy on d-day.
col. shames: i'm pretty dumb, so i have to read. [laughter] col. shames: good morning to all of you. to let you know who i am, i am ed shames of the band of brothers. i was part of the military unit which won the war. almost single-handed. we won the war. if you don't believe it, hit the books. [laughter] col. shames: maybe you have already read it. the author of "band of brothers" , dr. stephen ambrose, was born
from a family of cattle farmers. that's something you probably did not know. they must have raised bulls. because he was the biggest bull tipper you've ever known. if you believe everything in that book, you'll believe anything. the original infantry unit featured in the book, there are five of us left. three of us are viable, two don't know where they are. i may be one of them. the entire regiment of 2500 , five of them parachuting regiments, began training at the corps from 7000 hand-picked men. 7000 bodies, and experimental infantry. we were the best trained units ever in the history of the u.s. military.
they weeded us down from 7000 to 2500. they almost killed us all doing it. the gentleman asked me why i joined the paratroopers? originally, i was going to join the canadian air force. the american air force would not take three of us because we were too young at the time. the canadian sent out waivers. and also, a newspaper article sent out for recruits to come to ontario the canadian cadet corps , for fighter pilots. we thought that was pretty good. the three of us went out and passed the mental exams, physicals, and were waiting to
be sworn in on december 8, 1941. that's a very important date. we were in a hotel room sunday afternoon, waiting for monday, when we could be sworn in. on the radio, we heard pearl harbor had been attacked. therefore, we had permission from the canadian government to leave, go back home, and we waited to find out what was going to happen at home. at that time, there was a group of civilians at fort monroe, virginia, the headquarters of the u.s. army at the time. the pentagon was built, but not occupied. senior civilians at the general headquarters of the army decided they had to do something after the attack at pearl harbor.
the corregidor, the bataan death march, where 10,000 of our soldiers were marched to death camps. something had to be done for the american public. they decided the american army were no match for anyone. they had to come up with a scheme. they decided on a super unit, a parachute unit. we saw an ad in the paper saying they were looking for top, physically able to men, smart, with an iq of 110 are better better, which would allow
us to go to officers candidate school. of course, we thought we were every bit of it. so we joined the 506. that is how i got into the 506. >> what was it like to parachute on the first day? tell us what the experience was like. col. shames: we were scared as hell. [laughter] col. shames: it so happened that , at that time i was staff , and it of the battalion was supposed to be sitting next to my commanding officer. i was a pretty good soldier. i knew what was going on, i was the one that briefed the
battalion. normally the operations officer would brief, but they asked me to brief it, and i would brief anyone who would come along, one platoon at the time, one single at a time. i was told that when they were ready to jump into normandy that they would call for me and let me get on. when i got to the plane, i was chief that arew correspondent would be on my plane ofhe number one 47. he told me that the jeep would
it take me to the plane i would go on. at the time, i was nervous as hell. whoever said that they were cool dreadful-- dead fool or lying. we were getting ready to get our tails shot off. we knew what was coming. the jump master told me to get back in the plane, i was going to be a pusher, number 19. we had arranged all the men for 17 and 18, because of the loading capacity. when he said 19, that got my curiosity. i said, "number 19?" they said we were the only one carrying 19. i cannot prove that i jumped into normandy. no one has ever found a manifest with my name on it. i don't know if i was there not. [laughter]
col. shames: i was. i got on the back of the plane, , we gotcross the coast across the english channel, we got flagged through jersey, we crossed over in brittany, and all hell broke loose. it looked like, i do not know if you remember or have seen some of the fireworks displays at these theme parks, when they do everything at the last minute. that was the end of the fireworks, if you recall. they do everything. that's what it looked like on the coast. that diverted a lot of planes. the weather created problems. navigation created problems at that moment. also, a lot of cowardice.
and i said cowardice. the pilots got frightened and got the hell out of there. we dropped 50 miles from where we wanted to drop. it so happens that on my plane, when the red light came on, we stood up and got ready to jump, we counted off, tapped each other on the shoulders, and said all right, let's go. the green light came on, and the man in front of me was carrying a 60 millimeter, which was nothing unusual. 81e of them carried millimeters. he had a 60 millimeter that weighed 25 pounds, plus his weapon, plus 1400 other things. he slipped on the way to the door. by the time i got him up, it
must have been five or six seconds. so a plane going 110 miles per , hour had gone a couple of miles. when i jumped out, i jumped in a hailstorm of faces. things are coming to the parachute. was i frightened? i was scared to death. it felt like a half an hour before i got to the ground. i am sure it was about 20 seconds. >> i have to do some questions. i want to get to some other questions. col. shames: another time. [laughter] [applause] >> he has a lifetime of experiences to tell us. i want to be able to ask the other panel some questions and we have admiral howard coming as well.
manny, what was your earliest memory of hungary? mr. mandel: my earliest memory of hungary? this is green. hello? are we ok? let's try again. my first memory of hungary was a fairly normal one. remember that hungary, unlike any other country in europe, with one exception, had a relationship with germany that was unique. anyone recall what that was? italy. they were allies. they were not occupied until march of 1944, late in the war.
when i was five years old, i could tell you a piece of the history of yugoslavia. the point is in hungary, life , was "normal." yes, we had a yellow star, there were restrictions, but not for a 7-year-old. i was in a bubble. my earliest recollections were of a normal life. it did not feel abnormal at that time. i found out about it later. my first experience with the holocaust, that's a different story. host: you mentioned wearing the star, the yellow star which all the jewish people had to wear. you couldn't get a bicycle. but, your first real taste of the holocaust, what was that like?
mr. mandel: that was not in hungary. my grandmother was killed in auschwitz. so were my mother's parents, who lived in the former yugoslavia. both my parents were hungarians, and my mother was from the port of hungary, yugoslavia. they were from the land of dracula, transylvania. my mother and i went south in 1941 to the city where i was raised, where my grandparents lived. this was for winter vacation for about a week. let me tell you briefly and quickly the experience, my first experience with these things.
i do not know what it was about. i was there and can recall it clearly. i learned later what it was. we were staying at my mother's sister's, my aunt's house. so a neighbor comes up early in the morning on the second or third day and says there is something going on in the street. two policemen came up and knocked on the door. "ladies and gentlemen, come out. dress warmly." this is wintertime. it is not bitter, but it is winter. "we need to have a census." the nazis, whether german, hungarian, had a census every 15 minutes. i exaggerate, but if they thought that they knew precisely who everybody was at all times they could control the population. we went out of the apartment and marched for some time. march.an easy my mother carried me, my father
carried me, and i walked. i was 5.5 years old. we arrived at a place i recognized, a stockade fence, eight feet tall on my left. in european cities, as those of you who have served may have noticed, they have made beaches out of the rivers. on one side, a fence. pools,re hot pools, cold restaurant. this was a lovely place and i remembered it. this was the danube. during the winter, it is frozen, on lockdown. along noticing as we walk , hundred yards down the road, the gates are open. we are told to turn left and go toward the river. we amble along slowly. there is a policeman. he says "what are you doing?" "you are not from here."
"you will mess up the census." he says, you will mess up the numbers because you are not come here -- from here, you are from budapest. how does he know? he recognizes my father from the street. he says, "stand aside." he saved our lives. within minutes of that issue, they come down the road, and a guy comes out with the rest of his buddies. they announced on the bullhorn that the requirements of the census have been met. the next morning at 6:00, we leave on a train for budapest.
somehow, when there is a catastrophe, you go home. but the question is, what happened at that beach? those people who walked down the road, turned left into the gate and went to the danube, which had ice on it, had been blasted open by cannon fire. they were shot, into the danube, never to be seen again. there were bodies floating, never found again. 360 people were killed. this was a description that this little child remembers. it has no purpose, no reason, no use. it is something they can do to you because they can, and they did. host: thank you. did you meet anne frank? mr. mandel: i wish i had.
frank was--anne hiding in amsterdam, sent to auschwitz. lots of people died from disease. have you ever heard of typhus? yes. it was rampant, now curable by antibiotics. in those days the antibiotics had just been discovered and of course, they did not go first to the concentration camp. i was treated in december of 1944. she stayed until april and died three weeks before liberation of the camp. we never knew each other. she was 16, i was nine. she was too old for me.
[laughter] mr. mandel: we breathed the same air for four months. i feel a certain kind of kinship , though i never met her. i wish i met her. host: i want to ask a question now of henry. can you tell people what your experience was in the jewish ghetto? greenbaum: i did not hear what you said. what was life like in the ghetto? the whole family was together. we had jobs in the munitions factory. there were rumors. we had a tailor shop, my father was still alive.
we happened to have one of our customers who was working in the munitions factory. my father asked him to give us a job there. no hesitation, he said "how many do you have?" he said, we have three single girls and a young boy. we were able to leave the ghetto as long as we went to work, and come back. we were guarded. there were no six-foot fences. we were living in our homes. then, some of them did not live in that area. they brought 6000 jews in a three block perimeter. we all had to sleep together, and we were a family of nine. we were dirty, filthy, we ran out of food, soap. we had to wait on the german
army to bring us rations. they got smaller and smaller every time. the women, supposedly some of tom could bribe the soldiers give them a watch or a necklace. maybe bread. but you could not bribe the nazis. the ukrainians, you could. they kept changing the guards. every two weeks. a new one came in. people would not bargain anymore. they did not have anything left. we stayed in the ghetto from 1940 to october 1942, we have a whole family together. we were intact. and then, they decided there were too many people to feed. so, they had a "selection." they brought in extra soldiers and chased us out of the ghetto. we were all in the same area. they brought in dogs and
soldiers. they chased us into an open field, where the army was. it was an open place and there was a desk and the nazis were there. as he walked up with of the family, you showed an id. , you are on the safe side. if not, they took you. we were all separated. they took the grandmothers and women away from us. that was the worst time of my life. i was 12 years old. i was the baby of the nine children we had.
my mother tried to give me a little hug. they pushed her back with a rifle butts. they said, "you cannot come back here." she went with the older people. that was the end of that. i never saw them again. i was left with three sisters, because we were working in the munitions factory. after the selection, they did not let us go back into the ghetto. they built for us a slave labor camp on the top of the stone quarry in the city, six kilometers away from the ghetto area. literally chased us, with whips. no more marching, you have to jog. it was not just normal marching, you had to jog.
when we finally reached our destination, six kilometers away, there was a stone quarry with towers and six-foot fences. there were dogs. the inside fence had barbed wire, not electric. we stayed there for another year. host: manny talked briefly about wearing the yellow star. you were a little bit older at that time. i wanted to know what it felt like to you, being different, singled out to where the yellow star of david? let me get you a mike. what was it like? mr. greenbaum: we were singled out. the jews had to wear the yellow star of david. they dug trenches. they made you dig them if you had the yellow star on. if you were a child, he didn't bother you. but, we eventually dug trenches for them. we were singled out.
i went to public school, and the teacher sent me home. they said, "no school for jewish children." that was after they put the star of david on. host: how were you educated? how where the young students educated both in your native language and in history and in math as well as religion? mr. greenbaum: i had no education. i was too young. i was in sixth grade. they deprived me of my education. host: it was normalized at that
stage in hungary? mr. greenbaum: i was. mr. mandel: i was, unconventionally. i was educated, yes, but not particularly well-rounded. i was not particularly stable. when i came to this country in the seventh grade, i had catching up to do. i did not have a lot of grounding in arithmetic. i did catch up, but the education was there, and i am not sure that it all stuck. host: your father was a cantor at the synagogue in budapest. did it survive the war? mr. mandel: yes.
it has been refurbished. it is on that street. the hungarian culture is very connected to austrian culture. it is the second-largest in a second largest synagogue in the world. it was refurbished in the last 10 years. it was shaken up when they put in a new subway line. the company for refurbishing it was the emmanuel foundation. it was named after emmanuel shwartz, whose son was tony curtis.
he is from, some like it hot. the temple survived the war. the dome was heavily damaged. it was used for a year after the war and abandoned. for 50 or 60 years they've been debating, what should we do? host: we're talking about terminology. does anybody know where the term "ghetto" comes from? in italian, it is where the forgery was. that is where were the melting of the metals. that is where the term ghetto comes from. knowyou hear it, you will it goes back to the 1400s.
i think what i would like to do to questions. i think it would be interesting, since your families were lost in europe, to tell everybody. i will start with henry, then manny, tell us about the families that you have had, when you got here, and how your lives were spared, and what you have contributed to the united states with your family? greenbaum: maybe you want to hear how we got liberated. that would be an interesting story. [applause] host: that was april 25, 1945. mr. greenbaum: we were marching for five or six weeks. they died out. they could not keep up the march. the dogs had no food. when they were hungry, they located a farm. they would have 10 course
dinners, we would have one raw potato with water. you could eat five steaks, you are so hungry. we chewed up leaves. we did that march through the 24th of april, 1945. they put us into a farm, ran in, and put us into the silo where they keep the hay. we found sheep and goats. it was warm. we were drenched from april showers. all we had was striped pajamas on. shoes, wooden clogs, everything was wet.
we got in there, and they put the dogs outside. if you touched the dogs, they would warm your feet. they would attack you. the dogs would guard us. they give us raw potatoes and water to drink. the next morning, the 25th, they woke us up early. we marched a short time, and all of a sudden, we sit in a circle. we were near a wooded area. there were low-flying planes. we did not know who they were. we thought they were germans. we do not know that. the dogs guarding us knew it was the american air force. it was the general patton arms division that freed us. you could see it from half a mile away. you could see the army.
the two guards watching us disappeared. they ran away. we could not understand they ran away. why did they leave us by ourselves? normally, they would shoot you, leave no evidence and go. we were sitting a circle. i thought, "anybody could come and kill us now." we were sitting there, waiting, with no guards. we thought it was a german tank. we did not know it was an american tank. five feet away, the american tank stops. a soldier from the hatch, he comes out with blonde hair and a crew cut. he reaches over and puts his
hands on his mouth and says, "we are americans and you are all free." we were miserable, especially from the march. it was unbearable. we did not get any slices of bread. then all of a sudden, somebody tells you you are free. , we said, "thank you for saving our lives." "why did it take you so long?" [laughter] five years it took. and we got our freedom back. and i respect all of the soldiers and veterans for giving your lives to save hours. -- ours. they gave us our freedom back. freedom, we need to cherish. in america, people take freedom for granted. but all of you in uniform, i was all over every military base.
i was designated to go to the holocaust museum. i was at annapolis five years ago. in the evening, we talked there to the navy. i was on the uss truman, speaking to the sailors. in kentucky, at least three times, i've met general petraeus. general petraeus was already fighting in iraq. so his wife accepted a plaque from the holocaust museum. 3 times today i have talked to soldiers and soldiers children. host: both manny and henry tell the story. it is very important that they tell it, at the holocaust museum. we are honored they came here
today to tell all of you new leaders and veterans the importance of it. i want to open this question. -- this to questions. did you have families here? in america? mr. greenbaum: my sister immigrated in 1937. when i was liberated, i did not know where she was. the soldiers were kind to us, they would give you their shirt off their backs. sometimes we did not want anything from them, we were full of life and the liberation. we did not want that. my brother.ed he had made it back to poland. i was liberated and wound up in a displaced persons camp. my brother came and said we have
a sister in america. he said she's in washington. so i said, he is closer. but the soldiers could not help me. when we told him about washington, we got a lot of help. and she married her first cousin. what helped us she maintained , the name, but with a difference in spelling. they spelled the name "greenbaum." it was kind of close. and they located my sister. she sent papers for us. she said, "those are my two brothers." they located her.
she sent papers within a year. we wound up in new york. then, who came to pick us up? it was not my sister. i had an older brother who escaped with a polish soldier. they were friends, they knew each other. the polish soldier was running away from the german army in a different direction. my brother left me by myself with my mom and three sisters on a farm. i did not see where he was running. he did not need me to run with him, i was too young. the polish soldiers told me i was too young, go back to my mother. i said, "ok," and went back to my mother. he ended up somewhere.
there was a japanese ambassador helping old hasidic jews. my brother fit the criteria. he got out to lithuania and then manchuria. from manchuria, my sister took over and went to america in 1941. he is the one that came to pick the two brothers up. host: ok, we can open this up to comments. [indiscernible] >> timing is everything.
[indiscernible] mr. mandel: himmler was number three in the german government. he was making any kind of deals he possibly can. remember, adolph eisman was captured in argentina. there was a trade of people for money. my time in this country consisted of when my brother and sister came to visit. a grandfather, who i never knew , chose to stay. my father came to visit after the war. as well of the remaining members
of the family. 1949, the family consisted of my mother, my father, and i. my mother was here, my father , and more importantly they made a decision, conscious , decision, that it was not the time to bring a child into this world. my mother adopted. they produced five children. many families made the decision not to bring children into the world. i've been married for more years than i can remember. [laughter] mr. mandel: 70 years is a long time to remember. i have a wife, children, and grandchildren. the youngest of him as a